Poverty, Inequality, and Growth

Global poverty is decreasing, but billions of people still do not have the resources they need to survive and thrive. Economic growth can reduce poverty, but it can also drive inequality that generates social and economic problems. While reducing poverty and inequality cuts through all of CGD’s topics of research, some of our work is especially focused on policies that serve those goals. You can find that work here.


The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the UN in September 2015, define the development agenda for the next 15 years. CGD contributed to the debate about the post-2015 development agenda and continue analyzing how best to reach the global goals and measure progress.

Greater access for the poor to financial services such as payments, deposits, credits, insurance and risk-management services can improve their opportunities and welfare. This CGD task force is working to identify the regulatory changes needed to increase financial inclusion while protecting consumers and financial stability.

Based on the analysis of CGD’s substantial in-house expertise in Latin America, the initiative goal is to advance recommendations to policymakers in Latin America as well as those in developed countries and multilateral organizations to support the region’s efforts to climb the development ladder and reach shared prosperity.

Photo by Simon Hooks, CC-SA 2.0

A growing middle class can play a crucial role in a country’s development both through spurring (consumption-led) economic growth and through making governments more responsive and accountable to their citizens. CGD has contributed to improving the definition and measurement of the middle class in developing countries, and our research continues to identify policies that foster middle class growth and analyze the economic and political consequences.